February 22, 2024

Bracketology Bubble Watch: Last call for Gonzaga as it faces Kentucky; Rick Pitino, St. John’s meet Marquette


at Iowa State, 2 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free)TCU is closer to coming off the bubble on the good side than most of the teams listed here. The concern for the Horned Frogs is that this is the first of three road games in their next four contests. Hilton Coliseum is one of the toughest road environments in college basketball. at Missouri State, 2 p.m. — The Sycamores will be perpetually on the bubble until they win the MVC title or fall off. They do not have a big non-conference win and have double-digit losses against the two major conference foes they face. vs. Illinois, 2 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Sparty would not be on the bubble at all if not for that 20-point win over Baylor back in December. They have been very good on their home floor and not so great away from home, but that win over the Bears stands out. This is Michigan State’s last chance to get a Quad 1 win at home this season. vs. La Salle, 2 p.m.Richmond beat Dayton at home and does not have a return trip to deal with. The Spiders will likely have to win out the regular season to have at-large hopes. at Butler, 2 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Friars worked overtime to beat Creighton this week. That win joins other home victories over Marquette and Wisconsin. The hole in their tournament resume is a 6-8 record against the top three quadrants. Teams under .500 against that group do not often find themselves in the bracket. vs. West Virginia, 3 p.m. | Longhorn Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Longhorns dropped back below .500 with their loss to Iowa State at home Tuesday. When you are straddling that line, winning home games is very important. That is especially true against league also-ran West Virginia. vs. Auburn, 3:30 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Gators had their four-game winning streak snapped at Texas A&M and have had a week off since then. Florida is just 1-7 against Quad 1 opposition and that will have to improve. Auburn gives the Gators a chance to add to that total. at Kentucky, 4 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Last call for Gonzaga. The Zags have been to the last 24 NCAA tournaments, but without a win at Kentucky, it is hard to see a path to an at-large bid. In fact, even with a win, it will not be easy. vs. UCF, 4 p.m. | ESPN+ — The Red Raiders are paying for a poor nonconference schedule that featured nine Quad 4 games. They have lost three in a row and are only 3-6 against the top two quadrants. That is not enough to make up for a poor SOS. They have to finish strong and that starts with a win at home against the Knights. vs. Houston, 4 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free)Cincinnati needs to start stacking quality wins. Lucky for the Bearcats, the schedule provides plenty of chances to do just that. Six of their next eight games are against Quad 1 teams, the best of which is the Cougars. vs. NC State, 4 p.m. | ACC Network, fuboTV (Try for free)Wake Forest has yet to notch a quad 1 win or a win away from home against a team that moves the needle. None of that gets fixed against NC State, but the next two games provide Quad 1 opportunities for the Demon Deacons. vs. Washington State, 5 p.m. | Pac-12 Network, fuboTV (Try for free)Oregon has struggled to string together wins of late. If the Ducks beat the Cougars, it will be their first two-game winning streak in a month. Yes, Oregon needs some better wins, but right now, any wins will do. Not that beating the Cougs will be easy. They are the hottest team in the Pac-12. at Marquette, 6 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Johnnies have seven Quad 1 losses already against just two wins. They have plenty of chances ahead starting tonight. This is the first of a stretch of five road games in seven before ending the regular season against Georgetown. vs. Michigan, 6:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The “Home Court Hero” Huskers should not need to be much of a hero to beat the last place Wolverines, which will be playing without star guard Dug McDaniel. McDaniel is suspended for the team’s road games this season. vs. UNLV, 8 p.m. | CBS Sports Network — The Lobos lead the Mountain West, but are the sixth of those teams in the bracket.  They have gaudy metrics, but nothing but home wins to back it up. No “Home Court Hero” is ever comfortable with its spot in the field.  They are just 5-4 against the top two quadrants and all of those wins came at home.  This is not a chance to fix that problem. vs. Tennessee, 8 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Since opening the season 5-0, the Aggies have played a lot of hit-and-miss basketball. They have not had more than a two-game winning or losing streak since. They have a chance to stop that trend in this one. A victory over Tennessee would not just be huge for their tournament profile, it would give them a third straight win. at Florida State, 8 p.m. | CW — The Cavaliers have been impressive of late and have pushed themselves into the bracket for now. They followed up a win at Clemson with a destruction of Miami in which they held the Canes to just 38 points for their seventh straight win. The schedule is relatively soft until Virginia travels to Virginia Tech on Feb. 19. at Missouri, 8:30 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Bulldogs’ tournament resume is being dragged down by a home loss to Southern in nonconference play. They have also yet to win a road game in six tries, but are a perfect 6-0 in neutral-site games. The Tigers are a team MSU needs to beat, home or away. at BYU, 10 p.m. | ESPNU, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Wildcats bounced back from a disappointing loss at Oklahoma State with a big win over rival Kansas. The metrics still do not like this team, but I am sure that having six overtime wins has something to do with it. If you want to impress the likes of the NET and KenPom, you need to win and win big. KSU would do well just to win this one. vs. Arizona, 10 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free)Colorado’s only Quad 1 win came at Washington and the Huskies are not in the bracket. The Buffaloes have played a relatively poor schedule and are just 3-7 away from home. Beating the Wildcats, even at home, can help make up for some of that.





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